His chosen young men are gone down to the slaughter." Jer. 48:15. These words were used in the long ago to indicate the utter hopelessness of the situation of Moab. Other calamities had befallen that people, but this is mentioned as the thing in which the greatness of her misfortunes climaxed. It may be that the experience is but one of those things which were written aforetime for our learning, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Our own young men constitute an important part of our denominational power. To them we must look for all that represents future strength in soul-winning ministry.
In recent times we have suffered the ravages of flood and fire, tempest and earthquake, war, famine and pestilence, and commercial depression. These things we are unable to control. We have been compelled to meet them without the possibility of escaping their destructiveness. We have endured them, and will still endure them. But the loss of our young men from active, aggressive ministry, we as an evangelistic people cannot possibly survive. Without them, any plans we may make for such progressive ministry as the times and the hour demand will utterly fail.
With every evidence before us that the world is hastening to its end, and the coming of our Lord is right at hand, how can the claims which we make denominationally be justified in the sight of judgment-bound men, if we do not continually bring into our ministry the vigor, the enterprise, the vision, and the hope of youth—especially at such an hour as this?
It never has been the purpose of God that the growth of His kingdom should be dependent mainly upon the efficiency of church machinery. Organization of the forces of the church is necessary, and should be efficient. But the power for winning the souls of men, and for extending the kingdom of God in the earth, is the Holy Spirit controlling the energies and hearts of true, devoted, consecrated, surrendered men and women.
And is it not true that by the intelligent and consecrated youth of the ministry the Holy Spirit has chiefly wrought the fabric of the church, and obtained the growth of the kingdom? And equally true is it that in no previous hour of time has it been so important that the Holy Spirit be permitted to operate through vigorous, consecrated youth in the ministry as it is just now.
Multitudes are awakened by the peril and ruin of this hour to inquire, "What do these things mean?" It is the hour for which this denomination long has prayed—an hour of unexcelled opportunity to preach the truth to eager hearers. Surely God will not give us over to such stupid lethargy and to such blindness of heart as shall leave us insensible to the greatness of this hour and to the importance of meeting its unusual opportunities aggressively.
Whatever is permitted to occur, the ministry of this movement should be kept strong and aggressive. If, through shortage of money, workers must be dropped, then shall it not be borne in mind that it is immeasurably more important that the truth continue to be preached in every place than that a routine be continued or an office be maintained?
In the financial stress that we now are meeting, and still must expect to meet, we should study greatly to simplify our organization before even one efficient ministerial worker, is dropped or before the way for young men to enter the ministry is closed.
It is seriously possible that no other situation that this denomination ever has met has so gravely menaced the ability of the movement to effect its God-given purpose. Whether that be so or not, it is true that the present position of our ministry is one of very real peril. If the movement is to be assured of the strength of its ministry in the years just before us, it must permit no time to elapse without strongly recruiting ministerial workers from the ranks of its young manhood.
To do this is at all times a work of first importance in the life and purpose of the movement. No conference should lose sight of the fact that in this matter it is face to face with a thing which is vital to the evangelical existence of the movement.
Truly the harvest is great. Truly the laborers are altogether too few. Pray for great grace and wisdom to come upon the church in this hour, that every worker whom the Lord of the harvest has called or yet shall call may be efficiently and fully employed in the world's great human harvest.